Shittu: Cy­ber­se­cu­rity Re­mains a Big Chal­lenge for Govt

THISDAY - - BUSINESS WORLD - Sto­ries by Emma Okonji

The Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Ade­bayo Shittu has ex­pressed worry that in­se­cu­rity in cy­berspace has con­tin­ued to pose se­ri­ous chal­lenge for gov­ern­ment, in spite of ef­forts put in place to ad­dress the is­sue.

Ade­bayo, who spoke at the Nige­ria ICT Im­pact CEO Fo­rum 2017 in La­gos re­cently, ex­pressed fears that cy­ber­at­tacks, if not tamed, could erode the gains of global tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ment, which he said, Nige­ria was look­ing up to in or­der to catchup with the rest of the world in the area of tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment.

Cy­ber­se­cu­rity is more than a chal­lenge for gov­ern­ment as it poses a huge ob­sta­cle to our dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion/dig­i­tal Nige­ria agenda, and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has es­ti­mated an an­nual loss of over N127 bil­lion to cy­ber­crime ac­tiv­i­ties across the na­tion, Shittu said.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Nige­ria had its fair share of cy­ber­crimes be­tween 2016 and 2017. He said that the eco­nomic re­ces­sion in 2016 brought about nu­mer­ous at­tacks tar­geted at or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als. The most re­cent, he said was the un­sus­pect­ing pa­tro­n­is­ers of ponzi schemes.

The min­is­ter said: “In the wave of aus­ter­ity, many peo­ple lost money to the said schemes and oth­ers fell vic­tims to ma­li­cious and com­pro­mis­ing web­sites, and this must not be al­lowed to con­tinue.”

He ex­plained that in 2013, the min­istry set a five-year Na­tional Broad­band Plan tar­get of reach­ing a five­fold in­crease in broad­band pen­e­tra­tion by the end of 2018, which ac­cord­ing to him, by all in­di­ca­tions, would be met and sur­passed given the en­thu­si­asm of the present ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The min­is­ter’s view about sur­pass­ing the 30 per cent broad­band pen­e­tra­tion by 2018 is ar­guable, since some key in­dus­try stake­hold­ers have ve­he­mently op­posed the im­ple­men­ta­tion plan. They ar­gued that Nige­ria will not meet the 30 per cent broad­band pen­e­tra­tion tar­get by 2018, giv­ing its cur­rent broad­band pen­e­tra­tion level of 21.95 per cent.

The broad­band ac­cess is a plat­form through which peo­ple could be con­nected to the in­ter­net to par­tic­i­pate in a va­ri­ety of on­line busi­nesses like e-com­merce, even though the cy­ber­crim­i­nals also catch up

with the op­por­tu­nity to hack into data­base of or­gan­i­sa­tions, with the in­ten­tion to gain unau­tho­rised ac­cess to vital in­for­ma­tion of or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als, just to de­fraud such per­sons and or­gan­i­sa­tions.

How­ever, Shittu said that gov­ern­ment would not be de­terred in pro­tect­ing Nige­ria’s cy­ber ter­ri­to­rial zones in or­der to make them safe for busi­ness.

List­ing gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to ad­dress cy­ber in­se­cu­rity in the coun­try, Shittu said in 2015, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment passed the Na­tional cy­ber­se­cu­rity into law which pro­vides di­rec­tives to guide reg­u­late and pro­tect the use and de­ploy­ment of crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion in­fra­struc­ture in the Na­tion. “The bill de­scribes classes of cy­ber­crime and also in­cludes ro­bust clauses for crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion fol­low­ing cy­ber­se­cu­rity crimes,” Shittu said.

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